Contact: Marcyne Touchton
Q&A Session with Barb Schwarz,
THE CREATOR OF HOME STAGING®
1) You started this cottage industry 37 years ago. How did you come up with the idea?
I came up with the words, concept, ideas, and name Home Staging® in 1972 based upon my years in musicals and plays during my college years. A former interior designer, I went into RE in Bellevue, WA in 1972 and was SHOCKED at how houses looked coming on the market for sale. I realized that design really was not what sellers needed nor would it help them in selling their homes at all…it was then that I came up with the comparison to the theater….
I said to a seller for the first time ever in 1972, “Do you like the theater?” and she said, “Yes, I love the theater but what does that have to do with selling my house?” I shared that I believed that we needed to set the ‘scene, or set the Stage®’ in her home for the buyers coming through.” Just as in the theater we set each scene for each act, we needed to set the scene for the buyers coming through for each room too. I have always said: the set is the house, the actors are the sellers, the buyers are the audience, the director is the agent, the critics are the other agents and the set designers are the ASP® Stagers we have of today.
I developed the ASP® designation and the Home Staging® Business Model of today and any other designations are simply imitations of our ASP® Designation and do not have over 37 years experience and credibility behind them.
ASP®s are the industry leaders for Home Staging® and the only recognized designation by the National Association of Realtors®. ASP®’s are trained specifically how to Stage® at the lowest investment with the fewest dollars invested and with the highest rate of return. ASP®s do not confuse decorating with Staging.
2) Did you have any idea that almost 4 decades later, that you’d revolutionize the real estate industry and that HGTV and other home improvement shows would have over a dozen shows on Staging … Where do you see this industry going in the next decade?
Many years ago I predicted that Home Staging® would change the entire industry forever and very few people would believe me then…now they are paying a whole lot more attention to Home Staging®….it is not a fad as some predicted, it is here to stay!
I have traveled 40 weeks a year from 1985 until now spreading the message and concept of Home Staging to over one million Real Estate Agents, and helped launch the careers of thousands of professional Home Stagers. Staging® is still “new” in some parts of the country, but it has gained hold all over the US and in many areas is now an expected practice.
For the industry and homeowners-Home Staging® will be worldwide.
Sellers will Stage® their homes BEFORE calling the RE Agent….so agents will need to include Staging® as a service to stay in control of the process.
Every RE office will have ASP® Stagers that they work with, top agents will have ASP® Stagers on their teams permanently.
For Real Estate agents and brokerages-
More and more RE companies will have policies that their listings must be Staged® to the best of everyone’s ability
-Agents want to work with the company that has the most and best looking listings in any market place.
-RE offices whose inventory is Staged® will sell the most homes.
-I predict that more and more RE Agents will earn the ASP Real Estate Agent Designation to learn how to communicate Home Staging® Ideas to the seller, how to market and price Staged® Properties better, and how to educate buyers about Home Staging® since most buyers have houses to sell too.
-I predict that more agents will pay for part of the Staging® as it is a marketing tool and they are hired to market and sell the property.
For Stagers® –
-I predict that people will only want to have their homes Staged by ASP Home Stagers® because of the longevity and credibility of our designation.
-I predict that ASP Home Stagers® will have more and more business! As more homeowners learn about ASP Home Staging more homes will need to be ASP Staged and that means more business for ASP Home Stagers®. In fact we need more ASP Stagers® to serve the RE Industry and sellers whose homes are for sale.
3) What is the biggest change in the industry you are seeing?
With the Baby Boomer population downsizing, there will be an increasing need for Transitional Staging. My clients have come to me to Stage® to Sell, then they wanted to Stage® to Live, then Stage® at Work too….it all fits…you can and should Stage® everything in your life.
Sellers are already beginning to go to the ASP Stager® first before going to the RE agent which will continue.
As RE Agents become more educated and earn the ASP Real Estate Agent designation they see the importance of ASP Home Staging as a value added service for sellers. Sellers want to know that the Stager has been trained and is educated and up to date on all Home Staging processes.
– There is a growing need for professional standards to guide the Home Staging industry. Over ten years ago, I founded IAHSP®, “The International Association of Home Staging Professionals®”. The IAHSP® Association benchmarks are Ethics, Education, and Excellence of practice. No other association has these high standards for membership that include professional training, continuing education, and adherence to a strict code of ethics. In the Real Estate Industry it is widely known that it is important to work with an agent who is a member of The National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Both IAHSP® and NAR® are the professional organizations for their respective industries, and since Staging is part of the real estate industry, not decorating or design, IAHSP® is ‘the’ NAR® of the Home Staging® industry.
Staging® is not just in North America but is going global, as I predicted 37 years ago. Anywhere a house is bought or sold, Staging® can help that property. Already we have ASP Stagers® in the US, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, England, Hungary, South America, China, Australia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and we are in talks with some of the Asian countries to bring ASP Home Staging® to their markets.
4) Many point to the internet as the most significant factor impacting the real estate industry in recent years…do you agree?
Yes – the internet AND Home Staging because it all starts with Home Staging. We know today that approximately 84% of buyers go the internet to search for a home before calling an agent, and each house only has about 3 seconds to impress a buyer on the internet before the buyer clicks to see another house or not. So that house better look good and be ASP Staged® to keep the audience’s attention.
ASP® Staging of that house for use in photos and virtual tours is crucial as to whether the buyer decides to look longer at that house on the internet and then to go see it with an agent in person or not. ASP® Home Staging works and benefits the buyer, the seller, the agent, the bank, the appraiser, the inspector, the neighborhood, the economy and the Real Estate Industry. You cannot have something that benefits all of these people and an entire industry and not have it become a way of life and practice for that industry.
Barb Schwarz (Seattle, WA) is known as The Creator of Home Staging®. Schwarz writes on real estate and Staging and contributes articles to a variety of publications on real estate topics. She has appeared on numerous national programs including The Today Show of NBC, ABC’s 20/20, PBS, FOX News, etc. She is regularly a keynote speaker at the annual National Association of Realtors’® National Convention.
Schwarz newest book is “Staging to Sell: The Secret to Selling Homes in a Down Market” (Wiley, June 2009, 978-0-470-44712-3, $19.95). Barb Schwarz, The Creator of Home Staging®, shows the statistics that even in today’s slower housing market, 95% of Staged homes sell (on average) in 35 days or less. On the other hand, homes that are not Staged take 172 days or more to sell, if they sell at all. Ms. Schwarz teaches readers how to Stage® their homes for a successful sale in today’s down market. In addition to being The International Creator of Staging a home, Schwarz, is also a Real Estate broker. She has Staged and sold over 5,000 homes, so she provides readers, sellers, Realtors® and Stagers, with useful advice on correctly pricing properties, marketing properties so that they sell, addressing objections early on, the steps to Staging a home, and much more. Written with today’s turbulent real estate market in mind, ‘Staging to Sell’ contains the information readers need to get their homes sold quickly in today’s market for top dollar. Her other Home Staging books are ‘Home Staging, The Winning Way to Sell Your Home for More Money” and “Building A Successful Home Staging Business” and “How to List and Sell Residential Real Estate Successfully.”
If you’d like more information about this topic, and/or to schedule an interview with Barb Schwarz, the Creator of Home Staging®, please call the IAHSP’s Director of Communications / Public Relations: Marcyne Touchton at 704.905.6343 or email her at “mailto:Marcyne@iahsp.com”